Like many Asian countries, South Korea has two different New Year days—one that follows the solar calendar and one that uses the lunar calendar.
Traditionally the lunar New Year’s, called So-nal, has had greater cultural and familial significance (In 2017 the 3 day holiday will be celebrated on January 27 – 30).
As for the solar New Year’s celebration, in 1896, as part of reforms instituted to Westernize and modernize Korea, the Gregorian calendar was adopted, along with some of the West’s holidays such as the January 1st New Year’s celebration.
Today I find South Korea’s celebration of the Jan. 1 New Year similar to celebration in America. For example, Koreans make New Year’s resolutions where they promise to exercise regularly, eat fewer sweet things—such as chocolates and candy—or endeavor to study harder.
It’s appropriate to wish your Korean colleagues a seasonal greeting this week prior to the holiday, just as you will wish your non-Korean friends “Happy New Year.”
The good news is …
The Korean New Year greeting is “Sae hae bok mani ba deu say yo.” It is a great phrase to learn because it will also be used again at the lunar New Years celebration in late January.
Again, pronounced: sae hae bok—mahne—bah deu say yo.
Oh, one more thing. This is the last Vodcast of 2016. Look for my upcoming thoughts for 2017 out early in 2017.